As a site, we ranked all the NBA teams from worst to best for our release of season previews. Day four’s daily release of a season preview ends up being the Brooklyn Nets. Corey Bourassa provides a recap of their past season, an offseason recap, and then finally the season preview all of us fans are eager for.
Playoffs: Lost first round 4-2 vs Hawks.
The Brooklyn Nets were a very lucky playoff team last season, as teams like the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat had impact injuries to their star players such as, Paul George, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. The Brooklyn Nets came into the playoffs at the eighth seed with most experts predicting a four game sweep handed down by the Atlanta Hawks. The Nets would not go down without a fight, and with this never back down mentality, the Nets were able to hang along, but ended up losing the series to the Hawks 4-2. Even thought the Nets were unable to move on in the playoffs, the team should great progress under first year head coach, Lionel Hollins. Brooklyn headed into the offseason with many difficult decisions to make surrounding their over-paid veterans and free agents.
This upcoming season will look different for the Nets. During the 2015 NBA draft, the Nets selected forward Chris McCullough with the 29th overall pick, who looks to be promising prospect in the next few years. During the 2015 draft, Brooklyn also traded Mason Plumlee and their second round pick, Pat Connaughton for Portland’s 2015 First Round draft pick, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. This draft class offers the Net’s an explosive forward, who if McCullough had not been injured during this past college season, would likely have probably been a lottery selection, along with Jefferson, who will not be a huge offensive contributor, as he develops his shot, but will be able to shore up their perimeter defense for another hopeful playoff berth.
Free agency was projected to be difficult for the Nets, since they were way over the cap with the contract’s of Deron Williams and Joe Johnson. The Nets ended up buying out Deron Williams, who then later signed with the Dallas Mavericks. By buying Williams out the Nets saved $27.5 million from his contract. Joe Johnson was in the middle of a trade talks with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but talks never got advanced. allowing for the Nets to keep Johnson on the trade block. Brooklyn will be shopping Johnson until they can find a buyer, but with his hefty salary the available takers a few and far between. Brooklyn was able to resign Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young to long-term contracts, and these two players look like they are the two franchise cornerstones Brooklyn has choose to build around. The Nets signed two young players in, guard Shane Larkin and forward Thomas Robinson. Both players have not lived up to expectations, but in limited roles they could give Brooklyn needed depth and production off the bench. Brooklyn later signed former number one overall pick Andrea Bargnani for the veteran minimum, but all in likely he will be traded or he will walk after this year. The Nets offseason could be viewed as confusing as they paid big money for no real star player, leaving them in a state of wanting to contend, but not having the suitable talent to do so.
Now with Deron Williams out of Brooklyn, the Nets hope there chemistry can improve from last season with second year coach Lionel Collins. Brooklyn hopes with Williams gone, Joe Johnson can step up and be the veteran leader they need after last season’s comments about how the Nets play lousy basketball. Brooklyn’s success will depend this season on their chemistry. With Joe Johnson currently still on the team, Brooklyn should either look to trade him right away to allow the team to build chemistry, or just hold on to him for the entire season in a quest for a playoff berth. Jarrett Jack will also be looked as a potential trade piece, as plenty of teams could use a veteran back-up point guard for their potential playoff run. With the trade of Plumlee, Brooklyn has no real reliable depth behind Lopez, causing great concerns for them. If Lopez does not perform like he did after this past season’s All-Star break, Brooklyn will have further hindered their rebuilding process by overpaying for Lopez. Thaddeus Young will also need to contribute good production if Brooklyn even hopes to sniff the playoffs, Brooklyn will need at least 17 points per game from Young, as well as 7-8 rebounds per game. Young is capable of doing this for Brooklyn, and of all the players listed, Young is probably the most trustworthy for production. Being ranked 27th in our rankings, we do not view Brooklyn as going to be a good team for next season. Johnson’s game has been declining over the past few years, Lopez cannot be reliable for star player production, and Young is a third star on a team, if that. All of this leads to Brooklyn being a below-average team, with a bunch of overpaid players. The worst thing for Brooklyn about a potentially poor season is the fact their first round pick belongs to Boston, this makes it so much harder for the franchise to rise to prevalence again. After this season, Joe Johnson’s horrendous contract will be off the book, and allow for Brooklyn to chase after a real star in free agency. This season will be a bad one for Brooklyn, but with plenty of cap space next offseason, Brooklyn can only hope Lopez and Young are enough to lure a top free agent to Brooklyn.
By: Corey Bourassa
Edited By: Mac Crowe, @Mac_Truck17